Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Izu Peninsula


Izu Peninsula Japan
The Izu Peninsula (Izu Hanto) lies in the east-central part ofJapan out into the pacific ocean. Owing to its rolling verdant hills,numerous hotsprings, beautiful coastlines, beaches,and mild climate it is a world known peninsula resort . Izu is Japan's largest 'onsen' spa resort and accommodates millions of visitors annually, offering a wide-range of accommodations and amusement facilities to fit all budgets and life-styles. Over 6,000 'ryokans' (Japanese style inn), modern hotels and other styles of lodgings are found in Izu. Visitors can spend their leisure time in numerous ways, including water sports, hiking, museums and historic sites.

 Click here for IZU photos : IZU peninsula : The Surfers Paradise



 The Jogasaki Coast

The Jogasaki Coast Izu Japan


The Jogasaki Coast Trail Izu Japan
The Jogasaki Coast is a beautiful section of coastline along the Izu Peninsula's eastern coast.The Saw-toothed coastline extending for 9km from Futo to Yawatano, the south of Ito city. It is believed that about 4000 years ago the eruption of Omuroyama Volcano led to the lava to flow down into the Sagami Bay and further into the ocean where it got eroded by the wave, and formed the cliff having the height of 10m. There are about 80 capes and 20 reefs in the coast, with Japan's largest gregarious spot of wild peaches The deep forests on the hilltop are arranged with hiking paths where you can come across hares and swallows. An almost ten kilometer long hiking trail gives a beautiful view of the jagged cliffs and stone formations follows the coast.

The suspension bridge across the sea at Kadowakizaki Point is a truly thrilling sight with a length of 48 m and a height of 23 m. The section attracts the most tourists and is easily accessible from the parking area.

It is also possible to view the Jogasaki Coast from sightseeing boats. Cruises last about 30 minutes and depart every 40 minutes. The fare is 1300 yen per person.

Access
The Jogasaki Coast can be reached in a 10 minute bus ride from Izu Kogen Station or in about a 20-30 minute walk from Jogasaki Kaigan Station. Izu Kogen and Jogasaki Kaigan Stations are located along the Izu Kyuko Line and can be easily reached from Ito and Atami.


Shuzenji Onsen

Shuzenji Onsen Izu Japan
Shuzenji onsen is located in the northern part of Izu .Shuzenji Onsen,a dense warren of inns and ryokans on both sides of Katsura River is one of the oldest and most famous onsens in the Izu peninsula, This pleasant hot spring resort of Shuzenji is named after the Shuzenji Temple which was founded about 1200 years ago by Kobo Daishi (Kukai), one of Japan's most important religious personalities.

Chikurinno-Komichi (Bamboo Grove Pathway), which is a beautiful pathway along Katsura Riveris a famous attraction here. Sky-high bamboos swinging with the wind create an elegant atmosphere. Tokko-no-Yu is another famous attraction here. The legend has it that famous monk Kobo Daishi broke a rock with the Buddhist altar article called Dokko, resulting the gush of hot spring about 1,200 years ago. Admission is free but note that bathing is prohibited.Hako-Yu is a famous spa where Minamoto no Yoriie, the second shogun of the Kamakura Shogunate, took a bath in the early 13th century. One can enjoy the nostalgia atmosphere bathing in a cypress bathtub.

Access
Shuzenji is connected by the Izu Hakone Railway Line with JR Mishima Station on the JR Tokaido Shinkansen and JR Tokaido Main Line.
The hot spring area can be reached in a 7 minute bus ride from Shuzenji Station.


The Izu Cactus Park


The Izu Cactus Park Izu Japan

The Izu Cactus Park is located besides the strikingly shaped, grass covered Mount Omuro, an extinct volcano in Ito City on the Izu Peninsula.

This is a natural park featuring five pyramid-style greenhouses with 1,500 types of cacti and succulent plants from around the world. In addition to the cultivation of tropical plants, there are many big statues from Mexico displayed on the 20 hectare site. An exciting experience is to watch the Pelicans, squirrel monkeys, peacocks and kangaroos all living freely in the park . A chimpanzee show is held several times per day.
Access
The Izu Cactus Park can be reached in a 15 minute bus ride from Izu Kogen Station. Izu Kogen Station is located along the Izu Kyuko Line.
  

Dogashima 

Dogashima Izu Japan
Dogashima Izu Japan
The coastline of Dogashima in Western Izu is an approximately 2-kilometer-long extending from Sebama to Cape Ajo and is famous for its is a popular scenic spot featuring many uniquely shaped rocks and small islands , amazing stone formations and caves and cliffs, due to the past volcanic eruptions and the erosion by the sea, enhanced with greenery and absolutely gorgeous clear water .


.A "Tonboro Phenomenon," induced by the ebb and flow of the tide, allows the visitors to walk from Sehama-kaigan Coast to Sanshirou-jima Island at low tide. Boat service is also available from the Dogashima-onsen, a popular marine leisure spot for swimming and fishing. Visitors can enjoy a Dogashima Island Caves Tour that will take you around several islands, such as Sanshirou-jima and Zou-jima, as well as to the Tenso-do Cave that was created by sea erosion.

On the northern side of the Dogashima-kaigan Coast is the Golden Cape, named for its golden color at sunset. Created by volcanic lava that slid down into the sea, it is a cape, known for its rugged scenery, displaying powerful white capped waves that pound against the towering cliffs. Many tourists visit this spot.

The best way to see the coast is from constantly departing sightseeing boats, which briefly enter one of the large caves along the way. The cruise takes about 20 minutes and costs 920 .

Access
Dogashima can be reached by Tokai bus from Shimoda (1 hour, 1360 yen, one to two buses/hour) and Shuzenji (90 minutes, 1970 yen, one to two buses/hour).



Shirahama Beach

Shirahama Beach Izu Japan

Shirahama Beach is well known for white sand, shallow beaches, and crystal clear water.. During the summer the beach is lined with palm trees. This gives the beach the atmosphere of a tropical resort. It is one of Izu's most famous and popular sand beaches and is also known for relatively good surfing conditions. The official swimming season begins in mid July and lasts through August, but air and water conditions remain pleasant through September. The beach is located just outside of Shimoda, next to Shirahama Jinja, a pretty Shinto shrine. Senjojiki is a beautiful rocky point near Shirahama beach. The view at this spot is best late in the afternoon. Engetsu Island. is a small island in Shirahama bay. It is a 20 minutes walk from the beach. There is a rock formation with a hole in the middle that allows to see the Sun set through it. It is an enjoyable view and stroll in any time of day. Sandanbeki is a beautiful view from cliffs on the ocean edge that are 50 meters high. There is also a guided tour into to the caverns inside the cliffs. It is said that pirates (kumano suigun)used to inhabit the caverns and the remains of their dwellings can be seen.

Access
Shirahama is about four kilometers outside of Shimoda's city along the main road in the direction of Ito. The beach can be reached by taking buses from the Shimoda Station.

Kawazu Seven Waterfalls

Kawazu Seven Waterfalls Izu Japan
The Kawazu Nanadaru are seven waterfalls in the mountains above Kawazu Town in southeastern Izu. The falls are located upstream on the Kawazu River and are called Kamadaru, Ebidaru, Hebidaru, Shokeidaru, Kanidaru, Deaidaru and Odaru Falls in order from upstream. The largest one is Odaru ("large waterfall"), with a drop of 30m and the smallest is 2 meter tall Kani daru ("crab waterfall"), The other waterfalls have abundant water volumes, and are lovely in the spring and autumn. There is a hiking path along the river to visit these waterfalls, which leads for about one kilometer through the forest.

Along the walking trail visitors come across beautiful statues that depict the heroine of the famous short story "Izu no Odoriko" (The Izu Dancer, 1926), one of several works by Kawabata Yasunari (1899-1972). Kawabata won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1968.



Kawazu Seven Waterfalls Izu Japan
At the base of the trail visitors can spot the small hot spring resort Nanadaru Onsen and the imposing Kawazu Nanadaru Loop Bridge, a two storied spiral bridge along National Route 414 high above the valley floor.

Access
The Kawazu Seven Waterfalls can be reached in a 25 minute bus ride from Kawazu Station

 MOA Museum of Art

MOA Museum of Art Izu Japan
MOA Museum of Art Izu Japan

 

The MOA Museum of Art (MOA Bijutsukan) is located in the slopes above Atami. It was established in 1982 by the Mokichi Okada Association (MOA) to house the art collection of their founder, Mokichi Okada. Mokichi was an avid art collector who lived from 1882 to 1955. After the World War II, Okada began energetically collecting works of Oriental art. To prevent these art works from being sold abroad, he established the Tômei Art Preservation Society (currently the MOA Art and Cultural Foundation) and opened the Hakone Museum of Art in Gôra, Hakone.

The museum has spacious exhibition rooms allowing easy viewing of the collection, which consists of around 3,500 works, including three National Treasures and 61 Important Cultural Properties, focused on East Asian art. Particularly famous is the National Treasure Kobai-hyakubai-byobu (Red Plum, White Plum Folding Screen) by the artist Ogata Korin, who was active from the end of the 17th century to the 18th century. The museum also has paintings by Rembrandt and Monet, and sculptures by Moore, as well as a reconstruction of a golden tea room said to have been used for the tea ceremony by military commander Toyotomi Hideyoshi in the 16th century..

Access
MOA Museum of Art can be reached in a 7 minute bus ride from Atami Station.

Hours  9:30 to 16:30
           Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.

Closed: Thursdays (unless Thursday is a national holiday)
              December 25-31 and January 4-10
       
Admission: 1600 yen

Joren Falls

Joren Falls Izu Japan

  

Joren Falls is a  famous waterfall in Izu in the headwaters of the Kano River. Joren Falls is situated among deep forests, and drops from basalt cliffs 25m high and 7m wide. The cold mountain air and water spray feels chilly even in the summer. Downstream from the plunge pool is the regular Amagi international trout fishing site. There is wasabi plantation around the fall and their wasabi is known as one of the most tasty wasabi because of the cold and pure water from the fall. Visitors can try fresh wasabi here. At the parking area, there are many hotels and gift shops. They sell wasabi ice-cream which has a very interesting taste

Access
Joren Falls isapproximately 30 minutes by bus  from Izuhakone Railway Shuzenji Station,
Hours 8:30 - 17:00


Mt Omuro

Mt Omuro Izu Japan


Mt Omuro is located near Ito and Izu Kogen. It is a a tidy cone-shaped dormant volcano covered in tall grass. A short 4 minute ride on the chair lift will take the visitors to the top of the mountain which is 580 meters above sea level. A lovely path can be walked around the crater, which is 300 meters in diameter. And the the panoramic views from here are breathtaking. On a clear day you can see the Izu Islands, Hakone, Mt. Fuji, the Amagi Mountains, and the resort town of Izu Kogen. The crater is hollowed out like a mortar , in which there is now an archery range. Visitors can try your luck at archery. A festival is held every 2nd Sunday of February for the burning of grasses on the mountain. There is also a park at the foot of the mountain called 'Sakura-no-sato'. It contains over 3000 cherry trees of 35 different varieties, which bloom off and on from September to April. 
Mt Omuro Izu Japan

 Access
Mt. Omuro can be reached by bus from Ito Station (35 minutes) or Izu Kogen Station (15 minutes).

Izu Map

 

Click here for IZU photos : IZU peninsula : The Surfers Paradise


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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Kyoto Temples and Shrines - The World Heritage Sites

Kyoto: the Old Capital of Japan


Kinkaku-ji Temple


Kinkakuji Golden Pavilion is a Zen temple in northern Kyoto whose top two floors are completely covered in gold leaf. The Golden Pavilion is World Heritage listed and surround by beautiful gardens. The site of Kinkaku-ji was originally a villa called Kitayama-dai, belonging to a powerful statesman, Saionji Kintsune. In 1397, it was purchased from the Saionjis by Shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu, and transformed into the Kinkaku-ji complex. When Yoshimitsu died, the building was converted into a Zen temple by his son, according to his wishes. The Golden Pavilion met with two disaters till date , one was during the Onin war, when all of the buildings in the complex aside from the paill dion were burned down. On July 2, 1950, the pavilion was burned down by a 22-year-old novice monk, Hayashi Yoken The present pavilion structure dates from 1955, when it was rebuilt. The pavilion is three stories high, approximately 12.5 meters in height. The pavilion successfully incorporates three distinct styles of architecture which are shinden, samurai, and zen, specifically on each floor. 

he Statues of the Shaka Buddha (historical Buddha) and Yoshimitsu are stored in the first floor.The building is topped with a bronze phoenix ornament. The Golden Pavilion is set in a magnificent Japanese strolling garden , kaiyū-shiki-teien The pavilion extends over a pond, called Kyōko-chi (, Mirror Pond?), that reflects the building. The pond contains 10 smaller islands. The zen typology is seen through the rock composition, the bridges, and plants are arranged in a specific way to represent famous places in Chinese and Japanese literature. Vantage points and focal points are established because of the strategic placement of the pavilion to view the gardens surrounding the pavilion. A small fishing deck (, tsuri-dono) is attached to the rear of the pavilion building, allowing a small boat to be moored under it.



Continuing through the garden takes you to the Sekkatei Teahouse. and Fudo Hall, a small temple hall which houses a statue of Fudo Myoo, one of the Five Wisdom Kings and protector of Buddhism.

Kinkakuji can be accessed from Kyoto Station city bus number 101 or 205 .It is 40 minutes and for 220 yen. It can also to reached by taking the Karasuma Subway Line to Kitaoji Station.

Hours: 9:00 to 17:00

Closed: No closing days

Admission: 400 yen


Ginkaku-ji

Ginkaku-ji - Silver Pavilion KyotoJapan. Ginkaku-ji ,the "Temple of the Silver Pavilion," is a Zen temple that was bulit in 1482, by shogun Ashikaga Yoshimasa as his retirement villa, at Sakyo ward, Kyoto. The Silver Pavilion is one of the highlights of any visit to Kyoto. Ginkaku-ji - Silver Pavilion was built in the style of the Golden Pavilion, which was the same house of Ashikaga Yoshimasa`s grandfather, Ashikaga Yoshimitsu.
During the Ōnin War, construction of the villa was halted. Despite Yoshimasa's intention to cover the structure with a distinctive silver-foil overlay, this work was delayed for so long that the plans were never realized before Yoshimasa's death. The present appearance of the structure is understood to be the same as when Yoshimasa himself last saw it.
Having retired to the villa, it is said Yoshimasa sat in the pavilion, contemplating the calm and beauty of the gardens as the Ōnin War worsened and Kyoto was burned to the ground.
In 1485, Yoshimasa became a Zen Buddhist monk. After his death on January 27, 1490 the villa and gardens became a Buddhist temple complex, renamed Jishō-ji after Yoshimasa's Buddhist name.
the pavilion's two stories are constructed in two different architecture styles and contain a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy
The sand garden of Ginkaku-ji known as the "Sea of Silver Sand", with a massive sand cone named "Moon Viewing Platform"is well known; for its carefully formed pile of sand which is said to symbolize Mount Fuji.The pavilion's two stories are constructed in two different architecture styles and contain a statue of Kannon, the Buddhist goddess of mercy
Besides the garden stands the Hondo (main hall), which displays paintings on its sliding doors (fusuma) . Next to this hall stands the Togudo (temple building) . The visitors then can walk through Ginkakuji's moss garden, which features ponds with islands and bridges over little streams. The path climbs over a hill from where there are magnificient views of the entire temple grounds and the city beyond.

Ginkakuji can be accessed by bus number 5, 17 or 100 from Kyoto Station. Alternatively, you can reach Ginkakuji by foot along the Philosopher's Path from Nanzenji in about 30-45 minutes.
Hours: 8:30 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:30 from December to February)
Closed: No closing days.
Admission: 500 yen


Kyoto Imperial Palace


Kyoto Imperial Palace was the residence of the Imperial family until the capital was relocated to Tokyo in 1868. The ancient Imperial Palace clearly shows the Japanese taste for purity, simplicity and calmness. The Palace Grounds include a number of buildings, along with the Imperial Residence, or dairi. The neighboring building to the north is the sentō , or residence of the retired Emperor. The main building on the Palace Grounds includes, among other halls, the Shishinden (Hall for State Ceremonies), Seiryōden ( refreshing hall), Kogosho (Court Room), Ogakumonsho (Imperial Study or Library), and a number of residences for the Empress, high-ranking aristocrats and government officials. The Shishinden was used for imporatnt ceremonies like, the coronation of an Emperor and installation of a Crown Prince. It is 33 by 23 metres in size, depicting a traditional architectural style. The Throne, called takamikura is placed on an octagonal dais, five metres above the floor, and could be separated from the rest of the room by a curtain. The sliding door that hide the Emperor from view is called kenjō no shōji, and has an image of 32 Chinese saints painted upon it.
The palace entrance has the main stairways, on either side of which are planted cherry (sakura) and a tachibana tree. The Imperial Palace Park serves as recreational space for both tourists and residents and features attractive, broad gravel paths with lawns and tree groves.
The palace grounds can be entered only on guided tours held by the Imperial Household Agency .Kyoto Imperial Palace is a ten minute subway ride from Kyoto Station along the Karasuma Subway Line to Marutamachi or Imadegawa Station .

Access: Free tours are held several times daily. No tours are held on Sundays and national holidays. Most Saturdays are also unavailable. To book a tour, you need to apply in advance with your passport at the Imperial Household Agency Office in the northwestern corner of Kyoto Imperial Park. Reservations are often possible for the same day. The office is open Monday to Friday from 8:45 to 12:00 and from 13:00 to 17:00.

Heian Jingu


Heian Jingu is a Shinto Shrine located in Sakyo ward of Kyoto. It is mainly dedicated to the two great emperor of Japan, Emperor Kammu ,the founder and the ancestral god of Kyoto who promoted the transfer of the capital to Kyoto, and Emperor Komei, the last Emperor of the Heian Capital in Kyoto .Heian Jingu is famous for having the largest torii in Japan. The shrine was constructed as a monument to the period of more than 1,000 years during which Kyoto prospered as the nation's capital, and as a symbol of the spirit behind the restoration of Kyoto. Heian Jingu is famous for having the largest torii in Japan.The main building, or shaden, is designed to imitate the Kyoto Imperial Palace.
The Shin`en garden of Heian Jingu is a fascinating experience of the traditional Japanese gardens. The Shin'en consists of four gardens , the Nishi Shin'en (West Garden) , Minami Shin'en (South Garden) , Naka Shin'en (Middle Garden) , Higashi Shin'en (East Garden) surrounding the main shrine buildings. The quiet pond Byakko-ike , the tea ceremony arbor called Choshin-tei located in the cluster of trees , deep pink blossoms of drooping cherry treesin spring, Japanese bush clover in autumn, Soryu-ike pond which features the Garyu-kyo, a walkway consisting of stone pillars and the Higashiyama hills as background scenery against two elegant old-style buidings - the Taihei-kaku and the Shobi-kan gives the gardens an ethereal beauty. Covering a total area of approximateley 33,000 square meters, these stroll-style landscape gardens are designated as a national scenic spot representative of Meijiera .

Sanjusangendo Temple


Sanjusangendo Temple is located in Kyoto, Japan. Sanjusangendo Temple is famous for the Thousand Armed Kannon it houses. Sanjūsangen- is a Buddhist temple in Higashiyama District of Kyoto, Japan. And is officially known as "Rengeō-in", or Hall of the Lotus King. The temple was founded in 1164 and rebuilt a century later after the original structure had been destroyed in a fire. That structure has remained unchanged for 700 years since then with four great renovations during that time. 

The name Sanjusangendo The temple hall, which is about 120 metres long, is Japan's longest wooden structure. (literally "33 intervals") derives from the number of intervals between the building's support columns, a traditional method of measuring the size of a building. In the center of the main hall sits a large, wooden statue of a 1000-armed Kannon (Senju Kannon) that is flanked on each side by 500 statues of human sized 1000-armed Kannon standing in ten rows. The images are made of Japanese cypress. Among the standing statues, 124 were carved in the 12th century when the temple was founded, and the remaining 876 were made in the 13th century when the temple was renovated. Together they make for an awesome sight. Other objects of note at the temple are the roofed earthen fence and South Gate, which are registered as Important Cultural Properties.

Access
Sanjusangendo is five minute walk from Shichijo Station along the Keihan Line.
Hours: 8:00 to 17:00 (9:00 to 16:00 from November 16 to March 31)
Admission ends 30 minutes before closing time.
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 600 yen

Kiyomizu-dera


Kiyomizu-dera ,officially know as Otowa-san Kiyomizu-dera is an independent Buddhist temple in eastern Kyoto. Kamigamo Shrine was founded in 798 and is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and is a World Heritage Site. There is not a single nail used in the entire structure. It takes its name from the Otowa Waterfall within the complex, which runs off the nearby hills. Kiyomizu means clear water, or pure water. The water that divides into different streams is consumed by visitors for different benefit, namely to cause longevity, success at school and a fortunate love life. Kiyomizudera is best known for its wooden stage that juts out from its main hall, 13 meters above the hillside below. The visitors get a picturesque view of the numerous cherry and maple trees below and with the illumination at night during the spring and fall it looks like a sea of colours. The mail hall contains a small statue of the eleven faced, thousand armed Kannon.

Jishu Shrine here, is the one dedicated to the deity of love and matchmaking. It is believed that anybody who finds their way, with their eyes close, between the stones placed in front of the shrine will have a successful love life. The temple also has a number of other temple buildings and a vermilion three storied pagoda, a repository for sutras, large entrance gates and the Zuigudo Hall which is dedicated to Buddha's mother.




Access
Kiyomizudera is about a 20 minute walk from Kiyomizu-Gojo Station along the Keihan Railway Line.
Hours: 6:00 to 18:00
Closed: No closing days
Admission: 300 yen
Spring and Fall Illumination
Hours: 18:30 to 21:30 (mid March to mid April and mid November to early December)
Admission: 400 yen

Nijo Castle

Nijō Castle is a flatland castle located in Kyoto, Japan. It was the Kyoto residence of the Tokugawa Shogun. The castle was built in 1603 and is noted for the contrast of its solemn appearance and gorgeous interiors.The castle consists of two concentric rings of fortifications, the Ninomaru Palace, the ruins of the Honmaru Palace. Also it is surrounded by various support buildings and several gardens. The palace displays a fantastic architectural style of late Edo period. One of the most striking features of the Ninomaru Palace are the "nightingale floors" (uguisubari) in the corridors. To protect the palace dwellers from sneak attacks and assassins, the floors of the corridors were constructed in such a way as to squeak like birds when anyone walked on them. The palace rooms are made of tatami mat and feature elegantly decorated ceilings. The sliding doors (fusuma) and walls of each room are decorated with wall paintings. The decorations include lavish quantities of gold leaf and elaborate wood carvings, intended to impress visitors with the power and wealth of the shoguns. The castle gardens are lined with groves of cherry and Japanese plum trees. The garden has a large pond with three islands and features numerous carefully placed stones and topiary pine trees.The Seiryuen,is a half Japanese, half Western style garden built in 1965 for cultural events such as tea ceremonies. Many areas of the castle grounds are also populated by maple, ginkgo and other trees that offer brilliant autumn colors usually during the second half of November.
From Kyoto Station, take the Karasuma Subway Line to Karasuma-Oike Station and transfer to the Tozai Line to Nijojo-mae Station
Hours: 8:45 to 17:00 (entry until 16:00)
Closed: Tuesdays in Jan, Jul, Aug and Dec (or following Wed if Tue is a national holiday)
December 26 to January 4
Admission: 600 yen



Kyoto shrines and Temples Sightseeing Map

Kamigamo Shrine


Kamigamo Shrine Kyoto - Kamigamo Shrine is one of the oldest shrines in Japan and is a World Heritage Site.

Fushimi Inari Taisha


Fushimi Inari Taisha (伏見稲荷大社) is a shinto jinja (shrine)


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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Climbing Mt.Fuji : Japan's Highest Peak



Mount Fuji is the highest mountain in Japan located on Honshu Island at 3,776.24 m (12,389 ft). This is a volcano that last erupted in 1707–08, Mount Fuji lies about 100 kilometres south-west of Tokyo, and can be seen from there on a clear day. Mount Fuji's exceptionally symmetrical cone, which is snow-capped several months a year, is a well-known symbol of Japan and it is frequently depicted in art and photographs, as well as visited by sightseers and climbers. It is one of Japan's Three Holy Mountains along with Mt. Tate and Mt. Haku.



Climbing Season of Mount Fuji

Walking Stick for Sale

Mt. Fuji is officially open from July 1st to August 31st. The mountain huts are open during this season. As the altitude is high, it often happens that the weather conditions are very much different between the point where you set off and the summit. Especially in the afternoon, the weather becomes quite unstable with quite a high possibility of thunder, and you are advised to draw up your plans so that you will be making your way down before the thunder starts. Please note that, even in mid-summer, the average temperature at the summit is between 5 deg C and 8 deg C. Depending on the wind conditions, you will feel the temperature dropping to near freezing point. From October to around mid June, climbing to the summit is highly perilous due to extreme wind and weather conditions, snow, ice and a risk of avalanches. Plan and prepare your climbing trip well in advance in order to make it a pleasant trip. Beginners are recommended to plan out an itinerary setting off during the morning and spending the night at the mountain hut. A walk around the crater of Mount Fuji takes about one hour. The mountain's and Japan's highest point is located immediately next to the weather station on the opposite side from where the Yoshida Trail reaches the peak.

Climb Timing

The best time for climbing Mt. Fuji is from late July to late August when the weather conditions are stable. Please bear in mind that it would be wise to avoid the period between August 13th and 17th, which is the long holiday week (Bon holidays) in Japan when it becomes very packed with crowds of people. Remember that climbing up Mt. Fuji during the night can be dangerous, and you are kindly requested to make thorough preparations and arrangements in advance, especially as the mountain huts often turn out to be full during the crowded season.

Pay and Use Toilet
Most people try to time their ascent in order to witness the sunrise from the summit. Also, the chances of the mountain being free of clouds are highest during the early morning hours.

The recommended way of doing this, is to climb to a mountain hut around the 7th or 8th station on the first day, spend some hours sleeping there, before continuing to the summit early on the second day. Note that the sunrise takes place as early as 3:45AM to 4:45AM in summer.

Another popular way is to start climbing the mountain around 10pm from the 5th Station and hike through the night to reach the summit around sunrise. Obviously, this is a more tiring way of climbing the mountain and brings an increased risk of suffering from altitude sickness.

Popular Climbing Trails

There are four routes for climbing Mt. Fuji. Here is the most popular courses.

Kawaguchi-Yoshida-Guchi Trail course (Yamanashi Prefecture)


This is the most popular base for the climb to the summit, and the most easily accessible 5th Station from the Kawaguchi fuji five lakes and central Tokyo. It takes an average of 6 hours to climb up to the summit of Mt. Fuji. It has many mountain huts on the way, but during the peak season, it becomes so packed that you will have a hard time to even weave your way through the crowd.
5th Station(go-gome)

Lots of mountain huts line the trail around the 7th and 8th stations, and there are separate trails for the ascent and descent. The sunrise takes place on this side of the mountain. The sunrise in the early morning is a breath taking view.

Altitude: about 2300 meters
Ascent: 5-7 hours , Descent: 3-5 hours
Trail Name: Yoshida Trail
Sunrise from the 8th Station

Fujinomiya Trail Course (Shizuoka Prefecture)


This is the shortest course for reaching the highest point, but it consists of many steep areas. There is no special route for the descent, so you will need to climb down the same path that you used for the ascent. In the middle of the trail, you can see the crater of the last eruption in the Hoei era (1707), located at the east side of Mt. Fuji. From around an altitude of 3,000 meters, the path becomes all rocks. At the Eighth Station which lies at an altitude of 3,250 meters, there is the Mt. Fuji First-aid Center where you can consult the doctor if you are feeling unwell. At the mountain top, there stands the Okunomiya inner shrine of the Sengen-taisha Grand Shrine, as well as mountain huts.

Starting point: New Fifth Station (2,400 m)
Time required: 5 hours for the ascent & 2 hours and 40 minutes for the descent

Gotemba Trail course (Shizuoka Prefecture)

Gotemba Train Starting Point

The 5th Station of Mt. Fuji Gotemba Trail is at an altitude of 1,440 meters above sea level. It is the lowest starting points among all Mt. Fuji trails. This route is longest trail to the summit. It's usually less crowded than other trails, allowing you to enjoy the climbing. A unique landscape called Osunabashiri (sand slope) can be found on this trail. Hoei Crater, which was formed by the last eruption of Mt. Fuji in 1707, is also located along the trail.

Altitude of the starting point : about 1,440m
Ascent : about 6 hours and 20 minutes
Descent : about 3 hours and 10 minutes

Subashiri Trail(Shizuoka Prefecture)


This 5th Station is located only at 2000 meters above sea level and is the base of the Subashiri Trail. The Subashiri Trail meets the Yoshida Trail around the 8th station.

Subashiri Train Starting Point
The Subashiri 5th Station on the eastern side of the mountain is the second easiest to access by public transportation from Tokyo after the Kawaguchiko 5th Station. Buses serve the station daily during the climbing season from July until late September and run on weekends and national holidays from May through October.

Like the Gotemba 5th Station, the Subashiri 5th Station is far less developed than the Kawaguchiko 5th Station, consisting of only a parking lot, toilets and two small shops and restaurants. The 5th Station is reached by a winding road through Mount Fuji's forests, which gets closed to private vehicles during the peak of the the climbing season.

The trail is not as crowded as other routes. The ascent from the Subashiri 5th Station takes about five to eight hours and the descent about three to five hours. Altitude: about 2000 meters
Ascent: 5-8 hours, Descent: 3-5 hours

Ohachi-meguri


Mt.Fuji Main Crator
At the mountain top, the rim of main crater is 600 meters in diameter and 200 meters deep. The course for making a tour of this crater includes the Kengamine peak which is 3,776 meters above sea level and is the highest peak in Japan. This course is called 'Ohachi-meguri' because the crater at the top of Mt. Fuji is shaped like a 'hachi' , or a bowl. At the summit, there are 8 peaks. The total distance is approximately 4 kilometers, and it takes an average of 1 hour and 30 minutes to complete the tour of Ohachi-meguri. Please make sure not to walk in this area by the crater in bad weather, or after the sun has set, when it becomes very dangerous.

Route: Sengentaisha-Okumiya - (20 min.) - Kengamine - (20 min.) - Kinmeisui - (10 min.) - Kusushi Shrine - (20 min.) - Ginmeisui - (5 min.) - Sengentaisha-Okumiya
Shrine in the Mt. Fuji Summit

Necessary Equipments for Mt.Fuji climbing


You are strongly advised to take with you sufficient amounts of water as water purchased in the mountain is very expensive. Other essential items include trekking shoes and a hat for shielding the sun. A walking stick or a trekking pole would also prove useful. In recent years, mobile phones can be used in the mountain. Moreover, in order to preserve the environment, please make sure to take your litter home with you.
Cap is necessary to protect from the strong sunshine. Choose the one with flanges. Chinstrap is also helpful against winds.
Sunglasses can protect your eyes from sunshine. They can also block dust in case you wear contact lenses.
Gloves are necessary to prevent you from getting injured. They can also keep your hands clean and warm.
Take long-sleeve shirts and sweaters so that you can adjust your body temperature. Long pants are recommended. Bring a couple pair of thick socks to avoid blister. The trails are mostly rocky and sandy, hence mountain-climbing boots or trekking shoes with thick sole are recommended. A walking stick (or pole) helps your climbing greatly. The walking stick can be bought from the 5th station.
Cash (small change) is necessary since you wouldn't be able to use a credit card at the mountain huts. If you climb at night, a flashlight or a headlamp is essential. Nice to have a sunscreen to prevent sunburn. Medicine, bandage, and tissues are useful just in case.

Mountain/Altitude Sickness

Quite a few climbers may suffer from headache, dizziness and nausea due to altitude sickness. To avoid altitude sickness, you are advised to climb the mountain at a slow pace and make frequent breaks. An overnight stay at a hut around the 7th or 8th station is recommended. Small bottles of oxygen, available at the 5th stations and mountain huts, can be an effective tool in reducing the altitude sickness. It is advisable to stop climbing in case the climber is heavily affected by altitude sickness as it further version as the altitude increases.

Mountain Huts

As the mountain huts are very well-equipped with facilities, there is no need for you to carry heavy items such as a tent or a rice cooker.
However, in case of emergency, you should take with you minimum provisions of water, and light snacks such as candies, biscuits, etc., as well as some extra clothes.
Some mountain huts accept reservations in advance. Especially in the crowded seasons, you will be required to share one room with other guests, so if you wish to secure private space, it is best to place a reservation in advance. Please note that water is very precious, so there are generally neither showers nor bathroom-vanities available at the mountain huts.
Average accommodation charges (for weekdays) at a mountain hut are as follows.
Without meals: 5,250 yen
With dinner and breakfast: 7,350 yen
There are lavatories, but these are not flushing toilets. When using the lavatory, you are obliged to pay a tip, so make sure you have plenty of loose coins with you. The average tip is between 50 yen and 200 yen.

Some mountain huts open a few days before the start of the official climbing season and/or remain opened until around mid September. Public transportation, however, is considerably less frequent or non-existent outside of the official climbing season


The Mountain Huts on Mt. Fuji Kawaguchiko (Fujiyoshida) Trail



The Mountain Huts on Mt. Fuji Fujinomiya Trail.




Access

Access by Car

Driving to Mt. Fuji is not recommended. The parking lots are almost always full, and traffic regulation is placed at peak seasons.
Take the Fuji I.C. (Exit) on Tomei Expressway. Turn Left onto Nishi-Fuji road. Take the Koizumi exit and merge onto Route 139. Turn Right onto Fujisan Sky Line (Route 180). The road leads to Fujinomiya-guchi 5th Station (Go-gome).
It takes about 60 minutes from the Fuji I.C. to Fujinomiya-guchi 5th Station (Go-gome) by car.

Bus

From Shinjuku Station (Tokyo)- Kawaguchiko-guchi 5th Sta.(Go-gome)
2600 yen (one way), 140 minutes
6 round trips per day during the climbing season
2 round trips per day on weekends/holidays in the off-season (daily during most of September) 

Shin-Fuji Sta. - (Tozan Bus) - Fujinomiya-guchi 5th Sta.(Go-gome)
Fares: 2,310 yen (one-way) / 3,000 yen (round-trip)
Total Time by bus: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Mishima Sta. - (Tozan Bus) - Fujinomiya-guchi 5th Sta.(Go-gome)
Fares: 2,390 yen (one-way) / 3,000 yen (round-trip)
Total Time by bus: 2 hour and 5 minutes

Shin-Fuji Sta. - (Tozan Bus) - Fujinomiya-guchi 5th Sta.(Go-gome)
Fares: 2,310 yen (one-way) / 3,000 yen (round-trip)
Total Time by bus: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Gotemba Sta. - (Tozan Bus) - Gotemba-guchi 5th Sta. (Go-gome)

Fares: 1,080 yen (one-way) / 1,500 yen (round-trip)
Total Time by bus: 40 minutes

Kawaguchiko Sta. - (Tozan Bus) - Kawaguchiko-guchi 5th Sta.(Go-gome) 
Fares: 1,500 yen (one-way) / 2,000 yen (round-trip)
Total Time by bus: 55 minutes

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